WoW! Thoughts! — on Déjà Vu in the Isle of Thunder
Playing through Patch 5.2 has been an enjoyable experience this last week and a half . Between the daily quests to advance the new zone, the awesomely extraneous Isle of Giants with its tamable dinosaurs and assorted mounts, and also the new raid, there’s a ton to do for just about any type of player. It makes sense that Blizzard would know how to release an awesome second patch since they’ve done it now for two expansions.
Throne of Thunder is Firelands all over again. That’s not a bad thing, as Firelands was quite enjoyable. Yet the hype for this patch was so well done, it wasn’t until I was running around the Court of Bones and had an odd feeling of déjà vu that I realized that we were repeating the same cycle. Sure, the mechanic is different in that there’s server-wide progress to unlock the Island, as opposed to a personally instanced World Tree that grows as you spend tokens at a vendor. But there’s still barred progress, tons of daily quests (including a choice between sets of dailies), and even fancy new hunter pets that require some effort to obtain. As excited as I’ve been for the content that’s coming out, it’s just different meat on the same old bones.
Those bones originated with the Isle of Quel’Danas, added to WoW in patch 2.4. There we were given an offensive that could be progressed through a series of daily quests and a story that culminated in a raid against Kael’thas, the villain of the area (and arguably the villain of the expansion). Blizzard continued refining this with the Argent Tournament, spread across two patches (5.1 and 5.2) in Wrath of the Lich King. The progression was limited to constructing the tournament grounds, and development was complete when patch 5.2 was released. At that point players had a series of dailies to work on (in the name of reputation grinding) and also a related raid.
As with all of their systems, Blizzard is refining the procedure with each iteration. Aside from what can feel like an overwhelming amount of dailies (there are effectively three quest hubs on the Isle of Thunder between the Court of Bones, Diremoor, and Ihgaluk Crag), they’ve got the procedure down to a science. And even then as we progress through the zone, the nature of those dailies changes. The only additional feature that Firelands lacked are the two world bosses, Oon’dasta and Nalak. There is an increased emphasis on PVP, but Firelands had that by virtue of keeping Alliance and Horde players confined to the same space.
There is one thing that the Isle of Thunder has that Firelands did not: DINOSAURS!!! And for that, patch 5.2 is easily one of the best WoW patches yet.
Dave Kosak clears up some confusion about the perceived lack of 5-man content in the future. Apparently the next expansion will have plenty less than three 5-man dungeons… https://twitter.com/DaveKosak/status/311655736860086272
No loot for anyone jumping cross-realms to get Oon’dasta or Nalak. I think they should give people the loot, but leave it stuck on the server where they got it. Good way to incentivize realm transfers. http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/8197860389
Free character transfers available for select servers. Making them free is also an incentive… http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/9089785/Free_Character_Moves_Available_%E2%80%93_March_14-3_13_2013
PVP Season 13 has started! It hasn’t been the same since jumping the shark in season 6. http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/9067518/PvP_Season_13_Begins-3_13_2013